Essex Street

Nestled among dumpling shacks and convenience stores Maxwell Graham's gallery is becoming a destination of its own.

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Maxwell Graham in his gallery, Essex Street, with an installation by Park McArthur.

Essex Street

Nestled among dumpling shacks and convenience stores Maxwell Graham's gallery is becoming a destination of its own.

Essex Street gallery, Maxwell Graham’s two-year-old storefront in a former Chinese restaurant next to what was once a brothel, is actually located at 114 Eldridge Street. (A rent hike forced him to move, and he never bothered with a name change.) And while the 30-year-old dealer, who struck out on his own after stints at Renwick and Greene Naftali, represents a crew of rising stars—like Valerie Snobeck, 33, whose transporting installations are featured in the current Whitney Biennial—he is just as interested in reintroducing artists like the union activist Fred Lonidier, 72, who had been absent from the New York art world for several decades before reappearing recently (thanks to Graham) and staking his own place in the Biennial. “It’s good to not do things properly sometimes,” Graham says. In fact, he adds, “I don’t always like the shows that happen here—but sometimes it’s not about me. It’s okay if something fails, as long as it’s taking a risk. I don’t want my artists to rely on art to make a living. I almost wish my younger artists would take after the older ones and disappear for 30 years. And, hopefully, I’ll be here for them to come back to.”